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posted by takyon on Sunday June 17 2018, @07:40PM   Printer-friendly
from the year-of-the-snitch dept.

The Associated Press and the Everett Washington HeraldNet carry a story about a 30 year old double murder solved using Public Genealogy Sites similar to the Golden State Killer story carried here on SoylentNews.

Deaths of two Canadian visitors shopping in the Seattle area were unsolved since 1987.

The deaths remained a mystery for more than 30 years, until DNA led to a major breakthrough. A genealogist, CeCe Moore, worked with experts at Parabon NanoLabs to build a family tree for the suspect, based on the genetic evidence recovered from the crime scenes. They used data that had been uploaded by distant cousins to public genealogy websites. They pinpointed a suspect, Talbott, a trucker living north of Sea-Tac International Airport.

Police kept him under surveillance until a paper cup fell from his truck in Seattle in early May. A swab of DNA from the cup came back as a match to the evidence that had waited 30 years. Before then, Talbott had never been considered a suspect. Days later he was in handcuffs.

This time the police used Parabon NanoLabs (more well-known for generating facial models from mere samples of DNA) to build a family tree of the killer by submitting the 30 year old crime scene DNA samples to multiple genealogy sites.

Results from those sites were combined by a Parabon genealogist to map the family of distant cousins found in those data bases. Police were then able to narrow down the list using other methods unmentioned.

Neither article mentions if any family members were stalked by police while being eliminated as suspects, or whether any samples were submitted by other family members.


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Monday June 18 2018, @11:13AM

    by looorg (578) on Monday June 18 2018, @11:13AM (#694481)

    I guess that could be a way to do it. But are these "active cases" or "cold cases" (I'm guessing cold once since it was a unsolved murder in 1987) that are getting solved by getting data from genealogy databases so if you think a crime was committed now it might not help much. I just hope this won't mean that police be getting lazy and just starting to trawling genealogy sites for clues instead of normal work. I don't believe this will have a deterrence effect on murderers either, it's to far fetched and many steps of thinking ahead to probably have an effect (as in can't murder billy bob cause some day way into the future some potential offspring might submit dna to a website and they'll track it back to me ...)

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